Cleaning out the bilge

Discussion in 'General Maintenance/Repair Questions' started by Jeff Fabiani, Jan 31, 2020.

  1. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    101
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Yep, i have already ordered one from BAM. Even if that is not the problem, its a cheap first try.
     
  2. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    In your picture, the blue plug appears to be seated properly (the "ears" make no difference). The plug could be leaking if the o-ring is compromised or missing and that could ALSO be a source of a leak, but it is not "the" leak. The main leak is from something else - whether it's the hose or something underneath the plastic cover.

    If you notice the hose feels funny/soft - replace it. If it's original, it's nearly 2 decades old - time for new ones (and the others, too).
     
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  3. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    101
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Alright. I will do some further investigation and see what i can find out.
     
  4. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    101
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    I swung down to the boat on my lunch break to take a closer look. I started by scraping off some of the green corrosion and then dried the area up with a towel. I used a flat head to tighten the screw on the hose clamp (i was able to tighten it up more than i would have assumed). I ran the engine for about 10 minutes while watching the area and feeling around down there. Water still drips from the drain plug, but i wasn't able to feel any other wet spots above it (ie on the cooler body itself). The only place where it was wet was on the blue drain plug. Leads me to believe i should start with replacing the drain plug and see if it still leaks. With the engine running at idle the drip is very slow, but after an hour plus cruising around yesterday there was more than a few drips in the bilge, so i assume as the water pressure increases it leaks more? Anyways, i'm still hesitant to remove the drain plug while the boat is in the water, so i need to mull over that for a while. I don't feel like sinking my boat today.
     
  5. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to remove the blue drain plug with the new one ready to go. But that's 100% your call.

    Take a toilet bowl wax ring with you. If for some reason you get stuck and end up with a hole that you can't plug, the wax ring is your backup. Break a chunk off and smoosh it into the hole.

    Leave the wax ring in your onboard tool bag (wrap it in plastic or a big ziploc bag).
     
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  6. DWABoat

    DWABoat Active Member

    457
    Aug 13, 2019
    S Louisiana
    2001 280 Sundancer
    1989 220CC Cuddy Cabin
    Twin 4.3 w/Alpha Ones
    5.7 Mercruiser Alpha One
    The lights are great. As I get older, the more I need them. While I had my engines out, I upgraded and added lights also. This picture was taken in the dark night with no additional lighting. I should have put a few more!
    I ordered a dozen of those little blue plugs. I keep a healthy stock on hand. It seems the o-rings wear pretty quick when they are tightened-loosened against the metal surface. On two of the plugs I just removed, the o-ring was missing. Of course they were dripping.

    You just as soon keep four or five fresh ones in the boat supply kit.
     
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  7. Korkie

    Korkie Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    715
    Feb 2, 2016
    Leonardtown, MD Potomac River / Chesapeake Bay
    340 Sundancer 2006, Garmin 7612, xHD Radome
    Merc 496 Mags
    Bravo III Drives
    Before I switched over to thru hulls (due to bravoitis) I used this to clamp my inlet hose when changing impellers in the water. Works great. Nice for emergencies as well.
    https://www.amazon.com/GEARWRENCH-3793-Pinch-Off-Pliers-Capacity/dp/B000I1G0YQ?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_8
    I added wire ties around the handle as an extra to prevent them from accidently opening.
    Make sure you have an easy out set as those blue plugs have a tendency to breakoff if they haven't been exercised regularly. Definitely have a new plug or 3 ready to go. Also - they like to cross thread, so make sure you are threading in straight. They come in packs of 5 on amazon.
    https://www.amazon.com/Mercruiser-M...12664&sprefix=mercruiser+blue+,aps,195&sr=8-1
    Good idea to keep extras on board.
     
  8. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    I had mentioned pinching the hose closed, above (like what Korkie has and linked to), and should add one little tidbit. Do NOT pinch the actual "inlet" hose - I assume Korkie was just using that term generically. The inlet hose goes from the transom to the raw water pump and is a hard, reinforced pump since it is under suction/vacuum. Pinch the raw water pump's "output" hose... which is the one that goes to the fuel cooler.
     
  9. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    101
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Thanks for those links, i will look into the clamp for sure and the 5 pack of drain plugs is smart.
     
  10. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    101
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Thank you, i will be sure not to pinch the wrong one! I'd be very excited if the drain plug is my only issue here. I'll hopefully get to this project in the next week or two.
     
  11. Tacoma290

    Tacoma290 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    249
    Oct 5, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    340 Sundancer 2007
    Twin 8.1S V-drives
    If you are worried about the water while you pull a hose, the other thing to do is get a set of wood plugs, like those shown below.
    I changed the impellers on my 290 with Bravo II outdrives while it was in the water. First, I found the plug that best fit the hose. I had the plug right next to me. Then, I pulled the raw water hose from the pump. Some water came in, but its not like a fire hose.
    The first time you do it, its scary. But you have plenty of time to shove a plug in. The first time I did it, I shoved the plug in so hard that I didn't need to clamp. The wood swells and the plug stays watertight.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Seems like an extreme test. I just take a good look at mine.
     
  13. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    101
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    That's a good idea well, thank you. I ordered hose pinch pliers as suggested above so i'll give that a try first as i hope to not need to remove the hose at all.
     
  14. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    101
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Someone earlier on this thread mentioned the hose in my photo should have two clamps on it, not one. Does anyone know the size of the clamp i would need for that hose?
     
  15. Korkie

    Korkie Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    715
    Feb 2, 2016
    Leonardtown, MD Potomac River / Chesapeake Bay
    340 Sundancer 2006, Garmin 7612, xHD Radome
    Merc 496 Mags
    Bravo III Drives
    Should get yourself an assortment of sizes to have on board in case you have one strip out or break. Ounce of prevention better than a pound of cure. :D
     
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  16. Tacoma290

    Tacoma290 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    249
    Oct 5, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    340 Sundancer 2007
    Twin 8.1S V-drives
    Yup. And the hose clamp assortment is one of the cheapest spare parts bills you will ever pay for the boat.
     
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  17. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    My suggestion on that is this. Go buy a box of 2.5g ziplocks and a box of every size aba clamp up to your exhaust size. Then sort them out with 2 of each size in the ziplock bags. Keep one or 2 bags for yourself then take the other 3 and sell them to your dock mates for xx dollars. They will love it and you will end up with free clamps!
     
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  18. Doug R

    Doug R New Member

    5
    Feb 27, 2020
    Central Illinois
    1997 Sundance’s 330 DA 7.4 L v-drive
    7.4 L Mercruiser w/v-drive
    I used the shop vac too and finished with the bucket of dawn soapy water. Use a long handle toilet brush to get in the hard to reach areas. Lots of rags finished the job. I agree with hating to climb out with greasy pants and shoes!
     
  19. electricaldoctor

    electricaldoctor Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    May 14, 2008
    Thousand Islands, Rockport, Ontario.
    1988 390 EC
    454 Mercruiser Gassers
    Looks like it will take a fair amount of "elbow grease" to clean up that oily mess.
     
  20. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    101
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Yea, it took about an hour with some solid brushing, spraying with water, shop vac and repeat. Turned out pretty good. I could have spent more time on it but i'm happy enough with it for now.
     

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